The Aurus Senat, the new state car of the Russian presidential pool, has apparently become a permanent fixture of his motorcade. Eyes On Events takes a look at the new model and how it stacks up to the US presidential limo dubbed 'The Beast.'
The new Russian limousine was first presented to the public during Vladimir Putin's inauguration on May 7. The trip, however, was only several hundred meters long, prompting skeptics to claim that the unveiling was just to show off and that the car is not yet ready for regular use.
The limousine, however, has since been spotted in a presidential motorcade on the streets of Moscow. Two sedan cars of the same brand were also cruising along.
The automobile line, which was named Aurus (Aurum, Latin for 'gold' + Russian), has been in development since 2012. The armored presidential limousine called Senat tops it, but it also includes an eponymous sedan car, a minivan named Kortezh, and a 4x4 car called Komendant, currently in the late stages of development. The entire brand was designed with unification in mind, as noted by the official name of the project: the Unified Modular Platform.
The Aurus Senat limo is now Russia's counterpart to the Chrysler car currently used by US President Donald Trump. Much like the American car, which is nicknamed 'The Beast,' the Senat was developed with much input from the Federal Protection Service (FSO), the Russian counterpart of the Secret Service in the US.
The Beast was developed for former President George W. Bush and is essentially a truck in the form of a limousine, featuring a sealable passenger compartment meant to withstand a chemical weapon attack, military-grade armor plating, Kevlar-reinforced flats, and a direct encoded video link to the Situation Room and other key sites. The Beast has extra weapons in its trunk and bottles with presidential blood for emergency transfusion – but no built-in rocket launchers.
The US limo is about 5.5 meters long and has an estimated weight of 7.5 tons, though the exact figure is classified. A V8 gasoline engine pulls the vehicle.
The Aurus Senat reportedly has all the security bells and whistles, including the ability to spend some time fully submerged with no harm to the passengers. At least the FSO assures that together with the engineers at NAMI – the state developer of the Aurus cars – they made the limo as safe as possible. A Russian plant created a specialized tire reinforced with metal cord for the Senat, strong enough to carry 1,900 kilos of weight while speeding at 190kph. There is, however, no info on weapons on board.
Compared to The Beast, the Senat is longer (over 6.6 meters), but lighter, weighing about 6.5 tons. The designers also agreed on a comfortable road clearance of 20cm – presumably to make sure that the car would not encounter an embarrassing obstacle like The Beast did during former President Barack Obama's visit to Dublin in 2011.
At the moment, both the limousine and the sedan use the same hybrid power plant: a 4.4liter V8 gasoline engine with almost 600 horsepower combined with a 122hp electric motor. The power plant was designed with the help of Porsche Engineering. A more powerful 6.6liter V12 engine capable of dishing out 800hp is currently being tested by NAMI and will be used in future Senat limos.
Aurus brand is expected to be heavily promoted in August during a car show in Moscow. The project was begun not only to produce a domestic state car for national prestige, but also to provide a boost to the Russian automotive industry by sponsoring the development of new technology and local production of key components, from engines to door handles. The resulting product is expected to pay for itself, competing with other luxury car brands like Mercedes Benz or Rolls Royce.
Meanwhile, The Beast may soon be replaced by a long-expected new car, a Cadillac-branded vehicle so far shrouded in mystery. A camouflaged model was reportedly spotted near GM's proving grounds in Michigan last fall.